If you thought that some tasks are purely meant to be performed by men, I’d tell you to think again.
A number of you have had the privilege to be a full-time student, then an internship, the “process.” Others juggle being a student and a working class. I, on the other hand, went to school but was too hungry, that I got to work and hustle at the same time. Somehow, bills need to be paid. Hii ni taun/mtaa!.[Chuckles.]
When I finished school, I didn’t focus on getting an internship at first, since I had already experienced the life of the corporate world. I convinced myself that somehow, everything will fall into place eventually. My contract with the Standard Media Group ended when I wanted to advance my studies because I needed more time. As luck would have it, I got a job immediately, which was very flexible for school.
Later on, I quit my job. I needed to focus on what I loved doing among other reasons, [a story for another day.]
Following my dreams and passion, I have met a number of people who have been very monumental in shaping what I now know. One of them being Kenneth Maina who believed in my growth and never got tired of teaching and reminding me of the importance of going for what I want. And Al Kags, my mentor. I wish to finish his sentence, I want to know what he knows then immerse myself in that kind of knowledge. Truly the universe aligns you with people who will guide you. However, many of us miss out because we are so fixated on how the success on the other side looks like, and so often we miss out on the journey’s experiences. Better yet, we are not prepared.
I found myself in one of Trustee that deals with Data of Sustainable for Development Goals (SDGs) and Global Goals for Local Impacts (GGLI). Here, I went through the mentorship program for a period of 3 weeks full of intense learning. After my time was up I decided to volunteer for one month, as a Data scientist and a Dialect Transcriber [the Kikuyu in me.], I was willing to learn different things since I already had the platform. Also the culture, the team, pretty amazing. Plus the Co-Founder is passionate about youth’s success and growth. Lucky at cards? I was taken in as an Intern.
I have heard stories, from colleagues around what was like being an intern, and some of their duties. I told myself that I was ready for this journey. Little did I know what was awaiting me.
The first week was cool, normal days in the office until the Director called me and Kasiti, my fellow intern mate. He ultimately uttered the most awaited task that everyone dreads. To wash and detail his CAR! I thought this was a joke, not until Oliver, my slay, who has gone through that process for almost a whole year, was assigned to make sure we did a thorough job. I was conflicted, for one; I needed the experience. Experience is the mother of wisdom. Two, I have never washed a car before. I’d see my dad and my little brother do their thing you know the “man tasks.” And neither has my dad ever told me to wash his. So, why was I going to do it now? [An ingredient of failure].
My watus [people], if you have not washed a car for 4 hours you don’t know how to wash a car. If you have never used a toothpick and wet wipes to do the details, then, do not under any, I mean any circumstance say you know how to wash a car. I felt terrorized, angry, punished, I couldn’t stand the absurdity! My well-manicured nails, did he think about that? The calloused palm and cuticles I have to deal with later? I remember being in soliloquy, how they will not see heaven for their barbaric wantonness. Kasiti on the other hand, she was demoralised, she sought counsel from me, but I had none to offer because I was dumbfounded as she was, and we asked ourselves so many whys. The two times I washed the car almost had me out of defiant. But deep down, I knew I had to circumvent somehow.
I mastered the courage and motivation for the challenging times ahead, and strived to be right-sized in all I did; I reminded myself that I am no less than, and no better than, anyone else. In addition to that, I knew if I reacted to everything that came my way, then I will have no energy to keep afloat the things that gave me peace.
Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men. – Martha Graham-
The lessons I continue to learn are humility, patience, resilience. Being told that your best was bullshit, was not mellifluous. That simply meant, REPEAT! But more importantly, achieving thoroughness and accuracy when accomplishing tasks through concern for all the areas involved; attention to detail. Moreover, we are equally competing for the same opportunities out here. I will forever be grateful and thankful.
Besides, we vehemently chanted; what a man can do, a woman can do it better. It’s about time we proved it.